STATEN ISLAND, NY (CBSMiami) — Breast cancer is often thought to be a woman’s cancer, but men also get it. Now the Food and Drug Administration is calling for more men to be included in clinical trials for breast cancer drugs.
Chef Peter Botros is the owner of several thriving New York City restaurants. Seven years ago, he dealt with something most men never think about.
“I thought it had to be a mistake,” he says. “Just trying to put the pieces together to see how it was possible that a 26-year-old man can have breast cancer.”
Botros was diagnosed after noticing a bloody discharge from his nipple. It was a devastating blow after losing his mother to breast cancer when he was just 14 years old.
“She had cancer pretty much my whole life. On and off she had beat it and it came back, beat it and it came back,” Botros says.
Breast cancer in men is rare, accounting for less than one percent of all breast cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. Now the FDA is issuing new recommendations to include men in breast cancer studies to better understand the disease.
Dr. Ben Park is co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
“We surprisingly don’t know that much about male breast cancer,” he says. “We have a little bit more knowledge than we did 10 years ago, but some of the issues have been because we don’t actually have a lot of male breast cancer patients to study. Many times they are not included in clinical trials.”
Men’s treatment is usually based on data collected on women.
Dr. Park says men in families with breast cancer need to be included in the conversation. He says, “If they have a strong family history and there’s, you know, obviously patients or women with breast cancer in that family they should also undergo genetic counseling and testing and screening.”
Botros had a double mastectomy and remains cancer-free. He named a restaurant after his beloved mother.
“She would love it. It’s beautiful. It’s exactly her style.”
Botros says he shares his story to help get rid of the stigma and to let men with breast cancer know they shouldn’t feel ashamed or alone.